Uterine Cancer Survivor
At age 51, I had gone thru Menopause 3 years earlier. One week before Christmas, two days before flying to NY with my mom and husband to visit my son in Manhattan, I started spotting. It was VERY light, painless,and lasted only a couple of hours. Of course I thought it was just the stress of the holidays etc. That my hormones were probably out of whack. Besides, I still had to pack, had last minute shopping to do. No time to worry about something so miniscule. But as the day wore on, a voice was saying, "Just call your GYN." Probably nothing. But can't hurt to call." But by the same token the other voice was saying, "are you nuts? You still have to finish shopping, and pack and........" But I called.
My GYN said to come on in the next day, most likely nothing. So I went in. And I got lost on the way there. For some 30 min. I drove in circles cursing because there were alot of other 'more important' things I should be doing! So I called from my car to cancel the appointment promising them I would call to reschedule when I got back for after the holidays. (knowing full well I probably would not have called). But the lady answering the phone would not hear of it, insisting on talking me in with wonderful directions.
I went in and the physical exam looked fine. "But", my GYN said, "lets do a biopsy to be sure". "Fine", I thought. But let's hurry so I can get home and finish packing I thought to myself. He did the biopsy and said it was probably nothing and to try to enjoy my holiday. I told him just in case to call me anytime if he found anything. I left his office and never gave it another thought. Until back at home on Christmas Eve morning at 8:30am. The phone rang. It was my GYN. Probably calling to tell me he got the results and that everything was fine and that he was just calling to tell me now I could totally enjoy my holiday. Except that is not how the conversation began. "Teri, we need to talk. The biopsy came back. You have cancer."
I don't know that I can accurately say how the conversation went after that, as life as I knew it, seemed to stop after I heard the word cancer. I do remember him saying he was confident it was in the earliest stages, but that I should set up an appointment to see an oncologist. My husband was still asleep. I couldn't bring myself to wake him up. How could I tell him this news when I could not even process it myself. So for another hour, I sat alone. I can't tell you what I was thinking because I don't know that I was. When he got up, I told him my GYN had called. He began with "see I told you everything would be ........" then he must have seen the look on my face. "Oh God no." Then we both cried and cried for what seemed like hours. My husband made some phone calls letting close friends and family know and asking for recommendations of doctors. One name came up and highly recommended, a doctor from the Cincinnati Barrett Cancer Center. With one phone call to the doctor, he insisted on meeting us that afternoon, on Christmas Eve. I could not believe it. He said to me, "Why wait. Come in today. Let me talk to you and your husband and try to lessen your fears so you can enjoy the holiday!"
I could not believe someone cared so much about what I was feeling that he would give up his Christmas Eve afternoon to meet with me. We met and instantly, I felt the weight of the world lifted off of my shoulders. Somehow, I knew I was sitting face to face with my Christmas miracle. I knew he was going to do everything he could to help me get thru this. Surgery was scheduled for Dec 30. The doctor was a Da Vinci robotic specialist and I was able to have my complete hystorectomy done robotically. Recovery was so easy. It then took about 4 days for the pathology report to come back. That was a long hard wait. When the doctor called with the pathology report, I could not even answer the phone I was so scared. Hy husband took the call and when I saw the smile on his face I knew the results were good. I had stage 1B and the pathology of the surrounding tissue came back clean. I didn't even have to have radiation or chemo. So you can see why I call my cancer, my Christmas miracle.
But when I think back of how close I came to letting that quick, painless symptom, the light spotting, go without checking it out, ......well I try not to think about it as it would have been a fatal mistake on my part. And that is what I want to help prevent from happening to anyone else. Pap smears (which I NEVER missed) would not have detected this cancer. There is not test for this cancer. But a simple, painless and fast passing clue that my own body gave me (that I almost ignored), did give me all the info I needed to get the help I needed that saved my life and could save many others. I have many people to thank for this last year.
First of all the voice in my head that finally convinced me to make the initial call to my GYN. Then of course my GYN himself who insisted on doing a biopsy even though physically everything seemed fine. And then my doctor who was then and continues to be my rock along with my husband. My chances of reoccurance are very low. My one year scan this past Dec. came back great. I go again in June. Thanks most of all to early detection, my prognosis is awesome!